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MSO announces Season 2020

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The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra today announced an astounding Season 2020 with superstars and sensational scores, symphonic masters and a year-long Beethoven celebration, honouring the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

MSO’s Beethoven commemorations include two momentous events. The Beethoven Pastoral Project, a worldwide event where orchestras around the globe will stand together to address climate change on United Nations World Environment Day on 5 June. In February, the Season Opening Gala: Beethoven Nine will feature Circa Contemporary Circus and a new work by composer and soprano Deborah Cheetham AO – just one of a series of new works to be performed throughout the year by Cheetham as the MSO’s 2020 Composer in Residence.

After an electric debut with the MSO in 2018, internationally-acclaimed conductor Xian Zhang will return as the MSO’s Principal Guest Conductor. As the MSO’s new Conductor Laureate, Sir Andrew Davis returns to Melbourne for the MSO’s Mid-Season Gala. Melbourne’s much-loved maestro Benjamin Northey will lead the MSO as Principal Conductor in Residence on both the Melbourne Town Hall and Hamer Hall stages. Also joining the MSO’s artistic family is Soloist in Residence, Nicola Benedetti CBE.

The MSO will perform seven commissioned works by contemporary Australian composers including music by Jordan Moore, MSO’s Cybec Young Composer in Residence.

Season 2020 includes Australian premieres of MSO international co-commissions from composer Brett Dean and the MSO’s Artistic Ambassador Tan Dun, whose new work for chorus and orchestra is in response to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. This piece is co-commissioned with the Royal Philharmonic Society in London, the original commissioners of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Some of the biggest names in international classical music will head to Melbourne for MSO’s Season 2020, with 39 artists representing 24 nationalities. For 23 of these international artists, this will be their first time performing with the MSO and for 10, this will be their first visit to Australia.

Guest artists include pianists Joyce Yang, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Alexandra Dariescu, Simon Trpčeski and Jonathan Biss. Cellists include Daniel Müller-Schott, Harriet Krijgh, Li-Wei Qin and Narek Hakhnazaryan. MSO welcomes violinists Gil Shaham, Nicola Benedetti CBE, Karen Gomyo and James Ehnes, along with legendary trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, superstar singers Thomas Hampson, Katie Noonan, Shenyang, Simon O’Neill and Camilla Tilling among others, and incredible displays by Circa Contemporary Circus and dancers from e.motion21.

Three Gala events will run across the year: Season Opening Gala celebrating Beethoven, a Mid-Season Gala conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and featuring Nicola Benedetti CBE, and a Season Finale Gala with the MSO Chorus, the National Boys Choir of Australia, a huge orchestra, and three soloists performing Carmina Burana led by Italian maestro Andrea Molino.

An extraordinary line up of the world’s top conductors join the MSO in Season 2020, including MSO debutants Miguel Harth-Bedoya, who will conduct Scheherazade, Pietari Inkinen who will conduct Mahler’s Symphony No.1 and dynamic Romanian Cristian Măcelaru who will conduct American legend Gil Shaham in Brahms’ mighty Violin Concerto. Legendary Russian maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy will conduct the epic Beethoven Pastoral Project, British conductor Alexander Shelley returns to lead the MSO through An Alpine Symphony, a concert which also features the world premiere of Gordon Hamilton’s work based on his Antarctic voyage, German conductor André de Ridder will direct trumpet player Håkan Hardenberger in a program celebrating brass, Stanislav Kochanovksy leads the MSO and pianist Jonathan Biss in Beethoven’s iconic Emperor Concerto and Ludovic Morlot conducts Thomas Hampson in a special event featuring American works including Aaron Copland’s Old American Songs.

The MSO is proud to be performing with trailblazing female conductors next year including Xian Zhang, Gemma New, Dalia Stasevska and Tianyi Lu.

Subscriptions to the MSO’s Season 2020 are available from 7pm, Wednesday 7 August 2019. Single tickets for individual concerts will be released later in 2019.

• Chinese New Year
• Sidney Myer Free Concerts
• Season Opening Gala: Beethoven Nine, Circa Contemporary Circus, Deborah Cheetham AO
An Alpine Symphony with conductor Alexander Shelley and pianist Alexandra Dariescu
Scheherazade with conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya and cellist Harriet Krijgh
• Hardenberger: Trumpet Royalty with Håkan Hardenberger
• Beethoven Pastoral Project
• Legends: Gil Shaham Plays Brahms
• Nicola Benedetti: Mid-Season Gala conducted by Sir Andrew Davis
• Songs of America: Thomas Hampson
Carmina Burana: Season Finale Gala
Ode to Joy: Symphony No. 9 with new choral concerto Nine by Tan Dun, MSO Artistic Ambassador

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Click here to read the Season 2020 Press Kit.